One of the interesting elements about running a website covering all aspects of the professional independent baseball leagues is that we receive e-mails every once in a while from those wanting to buy a minor league baseball team; or they want to know what it would take to start their own leagues because they have an “idea” about something on the field which they believe to be the “missing ingredient” in pro baseball. Often these ideas just won’t hold up in the long term; and it often would make more sense simply to invest in a current team looking to add minority owners.
This post will help to standardize the replies we make in the future. It may be modified down the road. If so, it will be noted with a date indicating the modification.
The independent pro baseball leagues, since the current inception which started in 1993, have a landscape littered with failed teams and leagues. These do not even include the announced teams and leagues which never played an inning. Nonetheless they tend to attract the “dream seekers” and “wannabe” owners because the barrier to entry is significantly less than owning a minor league baseball team under the MiLB umbrella.
Even though the more established independent leagues either have centralized ownership or require their franchise owners to post respectable letters of credit to ensure viability of the league, most people who inquire about minor league baseball ownership never really understand what is required. Many of the prospective owners who have contacted us have “stars in their eyes” and – for the most part – their focus is on something regarding the on-field action. Focus on developing the business side to create multiple competitive advantages and become a viable, profitable business are often far down on the list of aspirations for these people.
Sticking with the model of the independent baseball leagues, and bypassing the topic of the more stringent financial requirements for MiLB team ownership, a prospective owner needs to know what he or she is going to undertake should the decision be made to proceed. Every current operating independent professional baseball league has executives and other leadership who have experienced one or more of the following:
- fellow owners who ceased operations, sometimes even during the middle of the season
- being part of, or seeing colleagues go through, lawsuits due to league issues or even local issues
- problems with municipal governments preventing operations or hindering development of (or improvements to) their stadiums
- having fellow owners generate negative national publicity due to failing to pay players properly (or at all), not paying vendors, legal concerns and more
In addition to proving that a prospective owner is stable enough to reduce the risks of those happening, someone who wants to one day own a minor league baseball team needs to understand the broader picture. Here is an article which may be of interest:
Obviously, the article is by no means complete. Nonetheless, by addressing the mentioned issues with a solid business plan and adequate capital to overcome the challenges facing an owner either in the creation of a new team, creation of a new league, or taking over a current independent baseball team you will be in a much stronger position. You then could approach a league or a franchise broker with stronger reasons for being accepted for team ownership. We hope that this helps those dreaming about owning a professional baseball team one day to better understand the reality so that they can build businesses which benefit the pro baseball industry for years to come.
There are several good books about the independent professional baseball leagues. You are welcome to see a list of suggestions through this link: Books Get notified of upcoming independent baseball tryouts from either of these services: first service or the second service. Prospective players can find some helpful resources here We will be providing a growing list of possibly helpful tips and suggestions on various baseball information. This will range from "how to" information about baseball skills all the way to helpful information for casual baseball fans. Please click the link for more information: Tips And How To Information